Safer Cyclists

Information for Motorists

With increases in petrol prices and public transport costs, and a growing concern for the environment, more and more people of all age groups are relying on pedal power to get them around these days. 

Road casualties involving cyclists have risen dramatically over the last few years, with over forty fatal or serious injuries in 2011, around twice as many as in 2010. The roads are there for everybody, and no one group of road users has priority over another. In this section we aim to promote understanding between all, and offer advice on how we can work together to make our roads safer for everyone.

Legislation under the Road Safety Act 1988 gives the court power to sentence drivers for up to 14 years imprisonment for causing Death by Dangerous Driving, order a period of disqualification for a minimum of 2 years and endorse your driving licence with up to 11 penalty points.

Other consequences include:

  • A criminal record, affecting your future
  • Difficulites getting insurance, or execptionally high insurance once you get your licence back
  • You could lose your job – 15% of those convicted do
  • Legal expenses

Think about it, could you live with the consequences?

When turning

  • Expect the unexpected. Check your mirrors and your blind spots before turning,.  Approaching cyclists can often be momentarily hidden behind other vehicles when you’re turning right, or could be coming up on the nearside when you’re turning left. If there is a cyclist approaching, don’t try and turn in before they reach the junction, they may be approaching faster than you think, let them pass.

When overtaking

  • Leave at least a metre of space when passing cyclists. They may move out unexpectedly to avoid a pot-hole or drain cover.
  • Treat overtaking a cyclist as you would when overtaking any other vehicle, if there is oncoming traffic or your vision is limited, wait until the road ahead is clear with plenty of space to allow you to overtake safely.
  • The slightest touch can destabilise a cyclist. Leave extra room in wet weather to take account of wet or slippery surfaces.
  • Don’t overtake a cyclist on a narrow stretch of road, or where the road narrows ahead. Better to wait until the road widens, to avoid forcing them off the road.

At traffic lights

  • Some traffic lights have ‘advanced stop lines’ which give space for cyclists ahead of other traffic.  Be patient - give them plenty of time and space to move off when the lights change to green. 

On a roundabout

  • You must give way to cyclists approaching from the right, as you would any other vehicle.

On country roads

  • Don’t take risks when driving around bends on country roads, your speed should take into account the chance that there may be cyclists, horse riders, pedestrians or slow moving vehicles just ahead.

At night

  • As with any other road user, dip your headlights when approaching a cyclist at night.

Parking up

  • Once you’ve parked up and are getting out of your car, open your door slowly checking that there is no cyclist approaching on the off-side.  They won’t necessarily be expecting a door to suddenly open directly in their path.
  • Don’t park in cycle lanes, thereby forcing a cyclist onto the main road.  It is an offence to drive or park in a cycle lane marked with a solid white line.